With the warmest weather of the year soon to be upon us, we need to start paying some extra attention to protecting our skin when we’re out at the beach or just laying out in the sun. With this extra sun exposure comes an increased risk of skin cancer and other damaging effects of the sun. Even when the sun isn’t visible, you are still at risk of too much sun exposure as 80% of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through clouds. However, most people spend more time outside on brighter days, which is why summer calls for some extra precautions.
Most people know the best way to prevent skin damage from sun exposure, besides avoiding the outdoors from sunrise to sunset, is putting on sunscreen. But there is more to choosing a quality sunscreen than just picking up any random bottle at the store and lathering it on once. There are many things to look into with sunscreens when you’re planning a day out in the sun. Here are the primary factors we here at Clarkston Dermatology recommend everyone consider when looking for the right sunscreen, as well as what to do with it once you find the right one.
SPF – What is spf in sunscreen?
The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, denotes the increased amount of time (versus no sunscreen at all) that you should be able to stay out in the sun without getting a sunburn. For example, wearing an SPF 30 sunscreen should protect you from the sun 30 times longer than wearing no sunscreen would. This is, of course, in theory, and your personal results may vary. It is also important to consider that most people do not apply enough sunscreen, reducing its effectiveness.
Any sunscreen that is listed as “water-resistant” is just noting that it can stay active through 40-80 minutes of swimming or sweating, not that it’s completely waterproof or all you’ll need for a whole afternoon in the ocean.
Broad Spectrum (or Multi Spectrum) Coverage
This means the sunscreen protects against both types of UV rays – UVB rays and UVA rays.
Always check what the active ingredients in a sunscreen are because some absorb the sun’s rays while others reflect the sun’s rays. Understanding each active ingredient’s function and properties will help you in determining if a specific sunscreen covers enough bases.
Consider the above in your search for the right sunscreen, as finding the right one for you is half the battle! But also remember to apply it to your skin correctly to properly protect yourself. Most adults need around 1 oz. of sunscreen, about the amount you can hold in the palm of your hand, to apply an adequate amount to all exposed areas of the skin. If it doesn’t seem like you’ve applied enough, chances are good you’re right! Don’t be afraid to apply a bit too much; it’s better than not enough. Also remember to reapply a new layer of sunscreen every 2 hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. Also remember that sunscreen works most effectively when applied to dry skin and given 15 minutes to absorb before sun exposure.
Coming soon to the Clarkston Dermatology shop is the TOTAL DEFENSE + REPAIR Broad Spectrum SPF 34 Sunscreen. It is a rejuvenating super screen featuring SOL-IR Advanced Antioxidant Complex to prevent premature aging from chronic exposure to infrared. It provides comprehensive protection beyond UVA and UVB while supporting the skin’s ability to restore itself. This sunscreen also contains ingredients that help to rejuvenate photo damaged skin. Available in (SPF 34, SPF 34 Tinted, and SPF 50+)
Most importantly, remember to have fun in the sun while you’re protecting your skin. From all of us here at Clarkston Dermatology, have a fun and safe summer!